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Should Jenna Fischer Quit Her “Office” Job?

April 25, 2012

“Honestly, it would be great to play Pam for a long, long time,” Jenna Fischer said of her character on The Office in 2005. “I don’t have real big aspirations to be a movie star.” So far, her wishes have come true, but Fischer is at a career crossroads: She’s said she wants to sign a contract to return to her role as Dunder Mifflin’s ex-receptionist for another season, but NBC hasn’t reached a deal with her. Meanwhile, her latest stab at movie stardom, The Giant Mechanical Man, just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and on VOD and reaches theaters this weekend. And while it doesn’t really work, my advice to Fischer is: Quit your day job!

Fischer shines as Janice, an unmoored, unmarried zoo temp who finds herself magnetically attracted to a mime (Damages‘ Chris Messina) who paints himself silver and walks around the city on stilts. Seriously, it’s not as painful as it sounds, mostly because Fischer and Messina are so charming and display such genuine chemistry.

The rest of the movie, written and directed by Fischer’s real-life husband Lee Kirk, is kind of a mess—Topher Grace is especially awkward as a self-help guru who’s constantly pushing his books (and himself on Janice). But while Fischer seems to have explored every aspect of Pam, professionally (she’s a saleswoman now) and personally (she’s become a wife and mom over the series’ run), she’s finding new colors in her movie roles.

She was terrifically vulnerable as a widowed mom in Michael Weithorn’s unjustly overlooked A Little Help last year, and equally good as Michael Douglas’ long-suffering daughter in 2009’s Solitary Man. And she showed a flair for broader comedy, parodying Reese Witherspoon’s June Carter Cash in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. (Not so much in last year’s Hall Pass, but one wouldn’t expect The Three Stooges‘ Farrelly Bros. to write strong parts for women.)

Chances are Fischer’s next movie role in Kiss Me, directed by Jeff Probst (yes, the Survivor guy), isn’t going to make her a big-screen megastar either. But maybe if she’d leave her cushy NBC gig behind, she’d be freed up to pick more promising projects, and not just ones that fit into her sitcom hiatuses. C’mon, Jenna: Take a cue from Pam Beesley Halpert and get yourself a better job!

Do you think Jenna Fischer will ever be a movie star? Man up and post a comment!

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